Dokumentenidentifikation EP0687399 24.02.2000
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0687399
Titel Differentielles Verzögerungselement in BiCMOS Technologie mit konstanter Impulsbreite
Anmelder Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Stockholm, SE
Erfinder TORD, Lennart, Haulin, S-753 24 Uppsala, SE;
SEGERBÄCK, M., Per, S-162 44 Vällingby, SE;
MADER, Heinz, CH-8570 Weinfelden, CH
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69422706
Vertragsstaaten BE, CH, DE, DK, ES, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, NL
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 23.02.1994
EP-Aktenzeichen 949093702
WO-Anmeldetag 23.02.1994
PCT-Aktenzeichen SE9400151
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 1044
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 15.09.1994
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 20.12.1995
EP date of grant 19.01.2000
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 24.02.2000
IPC-Hauptklasse H03K 5/14
IPC-Nebenklasse H04L 7/033   

Technical Field

The present invention relates to a differential delay element for use in a bit synchronizer, and more particularly to a bit-synchronizing device which is preferably intended for use in communications systems that operate with clock frequencies in the megahertz range and where a separate clock signal cannot be transmitted simultaneously for practical reasons. It also relates to a phase aligner using such differential delay elements.


The relationship between physical magnitudes, signal frequency and transmission rate are important for synchronous communication in a system. When signal delays become excessive, it is not possible to interpret data reliably on the receiver side. Hitherto, the majority of electronic communications systems have operated with clock frequencies in the region of some tens of megahertz or lower. In the majority of system sizes, this means that clock signals can be generated in a manner which makes them valid for clocking through the entire system and the transmission delays become generally smaller than the clock period. The signals are able to propagate at speeds equal to roughly half the speed of light in vacuum in the majority of media, such as cables, printed circuit boards, optical fibres and integrated circuits, for instance.

The demands placed on clock distribution become progressively greater as the system speeds increase. By accurate balancing, it is possible to construct clocking distribution such that clock signals will arrive simultaneously at all sites in the system in which they are used. This enables communication to be effected between selected parts of the system with a common signal delay upper limit, so as not to exceed setup times and holding times (critical ranges) for receiving clocking elements. When still higher clock frequencies are used, it is no longer possible for all signals in the system to reach their respective destination points within the space of one clock period. Normally, it is necessary for part of the signals to reach their destinations prior to the end of the period, whereas other signals can be permitted to arrive during later periods. By utilizing this and by closely integrating the most critical parts of a system, it is possible to use higher clock frequencies and even frequencies which are so high that some signals will have transmission delays that are many times the period time. In order to be able to receive such a signal reliably, the receiving function must be capable of detecting the phase of the incoming signal and to handle correctly any phase ratio whatsoever in relation to the local clock. High clock frequencies are used in modern digital systems, wherein in many cases the time delays that may occur in transmission will reach a magnitude corresponding to the time of a single data bit.

Description of the Background Art

Telecommunications systems have been an exception to the aforegoing for a relatively long time. In this case, the distances between-communicating systems have been so great as to require synchronization already at moderate signal frequencies. Two methods have been applied chiefly in this regard:

  • 1) Transmission of both a data signal and a clock signal from the source to the destination point, wherein the receiver receives the clock signal for interpreting the data signal. Adaptation to transmission delays for the clock and data signals must also be effected when interpreting data.
  • 2) Recreation of the clock through an oscillating circuit or a phase-locked loop, with the aid of the so-called PLL technique. This requires the use of a line code.

After interpretation, it is also necessary in the majority of cases to transmit data to the time domain of the receiver system prior to further processing. This applies to both of the techniques given above. A double-port memory function is required for this purpose. In general, only a few signals require synchronization in these systems.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,181,975 teaches, for instance, a digital delay line apparatus for a case in which both clock signal and data signal are transmitted. The arrangement illustrates a technique of producing a digital continuous delay which replaces the incremental analogue delay elements normally used, these elements sometimes tending to introduce intermodulation between mutually adjacent signals when the signals to be delayed are digital data bits or pulses. This corresponds to the procedures mentioned under subparagraph 1) above.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,003,561 teaches another method of receiving a binary digital signal which may also contain a phase shift or jitter and with an accompanying clock signal which may have any desired phase position whatsoever in relation to the digital signal and may deviate slightly in frequency from the bit sequence frequency of the digital signal.

An example of restoring the clock in accordance with subparagraph 2) above is-given for instance in U.S. Pat. No. 4, 535,459. This example is effected with the aid of two bistable D-flip-flops and two exclusive OR-gates and a controlled oscillator of variable frequency. A corresponding system for an NRZ system is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,117,135.

Another example of digital phase alignment is given in U.S. Pat. No. 4,821,296. This example utilizes the advantage of the known synchronous bit speed of incoming signals and the fact that these signals are relatively pure, wherein data is sampled at two phases 0° and 180° of the local clock with the assumption that one of these two samples will contain correct data. A similar technique is described in a corresponding U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,011 having the same inventor, according to which samples are taken at phase angles 0°, 90°, 180° and 270° of the local clock. This technique is based on the use of a large number of registers to achieve phase alignment in a larger system with many incoming signals.

Additionally in a further European application EP-A2-0 087 707, to Hardage et al., a pulse delay circuit is described, using an even number of inverting gates in series, so that both the leading and trailing edges of an input signal are delayed by approximately the same amount. The document of Hardage et al. is directed to the use of ECL. There are then no push-pull drivers so inverters must be combined with separate current sources to obtain controlled delaying on one of the flanks.

Yet another document US-A-5 012 142 discloses fully differential variable delay elements for providing precision delays for use in digital phase-locked loops or the like. Each delay element comprises a pair of N-channel input transistors, a pair of P-channel input transistors, and biassing transistors receiving an analog control voltage. This solution claims the qualities of the differential signal to thereby obtain a first order smoothing of differences in the delays of positive and negative flanks. The delay of both positive and negative flanks will approximately be the average of both delays. Skew suppressing is introduced at the outputs.

Innumerable high frequency data signals are used in many present-day systems, both in the actual system and for external communication. It is not possible to control propagation delays at the high degree of accuracy required to manage the system without synchronization. The majority of signals require synchronization in such systems and the methods defined in subparagraphs 1) and 2) above have certain drawbacks in this environment.

Method 1) of transmitting both clock and data signals duplicates the number of connections for each signal. The number of connections to a circuit or a circuit board has constituted a limiting construction factor for a long time. Duplication of the number of connections for a small number of signals can normally be accepted, although it cannot be achieved for the majority of the signals.

Oscillating circuits or PLL devices for method 2) require precision time control components which also consume the scarce availability of pins. The methods 1) and 2) both require a double port memory for each signal.

Summary of the Invention

The construction of a delay line having a large adjustment field and a wide band width requires a plurality of delay elements to be coupled in cascade, each such element contributing to a part of the total delay . The waveform of the data signal needs to be restored in an amplifier stage after each delay stage. At the same time, it is necessary to minimize the number of delay stages in order to minimize jitter and distortion. This means that the adjustable delay stage and the waveform recreation stage are both suitably inverted so that these two together become non-inverting. This means that any difference in delay between positive and negative edges or flanks will be accumulated in the chain. Such waveform distortion is very troublesome in a delay locked loop such as this. It is essential that the output waveform is a delayed copy of the input signal. In the majority of function situations, pulse distortion will result in data corruption. To avoid this, the delay element acts in accordance with the invention as an adjustable delay element for, e.g., positive data edges and as a waveform restoring element for the negative edges. The delay element is inverting. This means that it is possible to construct a cascade-coupled chain from an even number of mutu-ally identical delay elements, where odd elements delay, e.g., positive edges and restore negative edges. Elements having an even number order do exactly the same, although since these elements operate on inverted data the effect is the opposite, i.e. delaying of negative edges and recreation of positive edges. In this way, each signal change on its way through the delay-line will obtain the required alternation between adjustable delay and signal improvement. Since all elements are identical and function with the same type of devices on the same type of data edge, the pulse distortion will be very small for an even number of elements.

The adjustable delay is obtained by controlling the edge rate of one of the edges with a biassing network. The following pulse length restoring stage will interpret this ramp as being a low level until it reaches the input threshold. The pulse length restoring stage will then quickly switch over while the ramp signal is still close to the threshold of the restoring stage. In order to avoid cross-talk effects and in order to prepare the preceding stage quickly for the restoring function that it shall have for the next data edge, each stage has a feedback route which quickly changes the ramp edge to a full logic level as soon as the threshold voltage of the receiver stage is reached.

It is not possible in the majority of systems to guarantee a stable phase relationship between a common clock and individual data signals. Thus, bit synchronizers must be able to manage phase drift between clock and data. Since the delay adjustment range of a phase aligner is limited, the locked delay loop will fasten in a fault function when the phase drift is such as to require a delay outside the usable range. Two phase aligners are used in alternate functions, in order to ensure the function. The phase aligners are constructed so as to cover a delay adjustment range of at least one unit interval. When the active phase aligner approaches the limit of its delay adjustment range as a result of following data with a driving phase ratio until the clock activates the resting or idling phase aligner and is steered to find equilibrium in the feedback loop well within the active delay adjustment range. This is a bit before or after in the bit stream in relation to the active phase aligner, depending on the direction of the phase drift. When this newly activated phase aligner becomes locked, the bit synchronizing control logic instructs the logic which receives output data from the bit synchronization to expect data from the other phase aligner. It also informs the receiving logic of the type of drift that has occurred. The receiving logic uses this information to handle input data correctly during the switching period. If the data speed is greater than the clock speed, the receiving logic will receive data from both phase aligners during the switching period. If the data speed is slower than the clock speed, it is necessary for the receiving logic to compensate in order for the same data bit to occur in mutually sequential periods during the switch over. The requisite working range can be reduced from two to one unit interval, by permitting one phase aligner to operate with an inverted clock signal.

Function control of the phase aligner of the bit synchronizer is effected with the aid of the delay control voltage of the phase aligner which is used to ensure that the upper and lower limit of the working range will not be exceeded or under-passed. A cut-over or change is initiated when the delay control voltage is too high or too low. The limit points of the usable delay function range are established by comparing the delay voltages with reference voltages. Adaptive reference voltage generators are used, since the usable delay operation range for phase alignment is dependent on supply voltage, circuit characteristics and temperature.

A first object of the present invention is to provide a differential delay element having the features recited in claim 1. A second object of the present invention is to provide a phase aligner for a bit synchronizer according to claim 7, which will ensure, without transmitting phase correlated clock signals, that the transmitted data signal is valid at those moments at which it is strobed by an isochronous or plesiochronous clock signal which lies in the time domain of the receiver.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a differential delay line for a phase aligner, wherein the delay line is comprised of pairs of inverting elements of which both elements have a controllable delay for positive edges and a pulse form restoring function for negative edges, alternatively have a controllable delay for negative edges and a pulse form restoring function for positive edges.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to exemplifying embodiments thereof and also with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which

Figure 1
illustrates schematically a prior art delay element and corresponding pulse diagram;
Figure 2
is a block diagram which illustrates a delay line;
Figure 3
illustrates schematically a data bit delay with pulse length resetting;
Figure 4
illustrates a differential delay element with a pair of inverting devices in cascade, in accordance with the invention;
Figure 5
is a schematic time diagram of pulse forms in a differential delay element according to Figure 4;
Figure 6
illustrates an embodiment of a circuit for one of the mutually identical inverting devices in a differential delay element in accordance with the present invention;
Figure 7
is a block diagram of a phase aligning part of a bit synchronizer which includes two phase aligners in accordance with the present invention;
Figure 8
illustrates the functional regions of a first and a second phase aligner in a bit synchronizer;
Figure 9a
illustrates with the aid of a signal diagram a relationship between an alarm signal ALO1 or AHI1 from PHA1 and a resultant signal INSYNC2 from PHA2 with subsequent cut-over from D1 to D2 as an output signal from the bit synchronizer; and
Figure 9b
illustrates in larger scale a part of the signal diagram in Figure 9a at the precise point when the switch between D1 and D2 takes place because data has a lower or a higher frequency than the clock.

Description of Exemplifying Embodiments

In order to delay a pulse signal for a selected period of time, it is normally necessary to divide the delay into a number of fixed or variable incremental and individual delays. Figure 1 illustrates a delay stage according to the present standpoint of techniques, which uses an RC link whose time constant can be controlled by a control voltage CRTL. The throughpassing pulse is shown at measuring points 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The difficulty with the solution provided by the present standpoint of techniques is that both the positive and the negative edge of a pulse to be delayed must be delayed to the same extent. In other words, the pulse edges at measuring point 2, for instance, must have exactly the same slope so that the same time distance is obtained between the front edge and the rear edge of the reconstructed delayed pulse at measuring point 3 at the trigger threshold of the following inverter. If this is not achieved, the pulse will be either shortened or lengthened step-by-step as it passes through such a digital delay line. If the pulse is shortened, there is a danger that the pulse will either be too short to be interpreted correctly, or that the will pulse disappears completely. When the pulse is lengthened, the pulses will gradually merge into one another, rendering the information content of the data bit signal unintelligible.

Figure 2 illustrates a digital delay line for use in a phase aligner for a bit synchronizer. The illustrated delay line is comprised of a number of differential delay elements DDE, which in turn are comprised of pairs of mutually identical inverting devices which have an adjustable time delay for the positive signal edges, or alternatively the negative signal edge.

Figure 3 illustrates schematically with the aid of three time diagrams 1, 2 and 3 a data bit delay with resetting of the pulse length. The signal a with given pulse length in the time diagram 1 is subjected to a delay stage in a first inverting device in which in the illustrated case the positive edge of the applied signal is delayed by an adjustable delay DLY. The time diagram 3 shows the output signal from this first inverting device after the positive edge of the signal a has been delayed by the time DLY at the same time as the pulse has been inverted to the pulse form b. The output signal from the first inverting device goes negative after time period t2 in response to the positive input signal at time t1. On the other hand, the inverting device responds almost immediately on the negative edge of the input signal a by going positive immediately at time t3. In other words, the inverted pulse b terminates basically at the same time with the negatively going edge of the pulse a, since the inverting device has no noticeable delay for edges that go negative. In other words, the pulse a is shortened at the same time as it is delayed. In order to maintain a correct pulse length, the pulse b is applied to a further identical inverting device which has the same adjustable delay DLY for the positive edge of the input signal. The second inverting device will switch to a high output signal immediately at time t3 whereas when the pulse b goes positive at time t3, the decline or fall of the output signal from the second inverting device will not take place until time t4, i.e. after a delay DLY.

Figure 4 is a block diagram illustrating a delay element DDE in accordance with the present invention, including a first inverting device INV1 and a second inverting device INV2. The mutually identical inverting devices INV1 and INV2 have differential inputs and outputs and feedback inputs FB and FB. Each inverting device also has an input CTL for a control voltage which, in the preferred embodiment, determines the delay time of a negative going edge. The control voltage on the input CTL determines the slope of the ramp used to obtain the time delay of, in this case, the negative going edge of the pulse signal to be delayed, which is shown with the aid of Figure 4.

Figure 5 illustrates five time-diagrams of which 1', 2' and 3' correspond to logic input and output signals for the inverting devices INV1 and INV2 in the delay element shown in Figure 3, whereas the time diagrams 2'' and 3'' illustrate an electric signal in each inverting device prior to level restoration. The signal 1' shows a pulse which goes high between the times t11 and t12. The first inverting device detects the signal 1' and creates an inverted signal 2'' which starts at t11. The first inverting device has an adjustable delay for the negative edge of the pulse signal 1'. This delay is created by starting a ramp at t13 when the signal 1' goes negative. When the ramp reaches a given threshold value, the ramp switches to a full logic level which produces a delay DLY = t13 - t14 for the rear edge of the pulse signal 1'. The level of this edge is then restored in the inverting device INV1, and a signal 2' is produced and applied to the second inverting device INV2. Correspondingly, the negative going first edge of the signal 2' starts a ramp for the second inverting device INV2. At a corresponding threshold, the ramp produces a full logic level for the front edge of the signal 3'' at time t12, wherewith DLY = t11 - t12 = t13 - t14 . The level of this edge is then restored in the inverter INV2 and a signal 3' is fed-out from the delay element DDE. The ramp threshold value will normally lie at 50% of the difference between the logic value "0" and the logic value "1". The slope of the ramp is set with the input voltage on connection CTL, i.e. the time constant for the change-over in the inverting device for the negative edge in. When the threshold value is reached and the output Q and the output Q go high, the time constant of the ramp is short-circuited on the input of INV1 by the feedback from the output Q and Q respectively on INV2 to the input FB and FB respectively on INV1, as will be explained in more detail with reference to Figure 6, which illustrates an inventive inverting device in greater detail.

Figure 6 illustrates a preferred embodiment of a circuit for an inverting device having a controllable time constant for the negative going pulse edge and corresponding blocks INV1 or INV2 in a delaying element DDE in accordance with the present invention. The inverting device is comprised of 13 transistors and is intended to be integrated as a unit on a substrate chip or wafer, for instance a silicon chip, wherein many such devices can be mounted on one and the same chip. The transistors T1 - T8 are comprised of field effect structures having P-channels, whereas the-transistors T7 - T11 are comprised of field effect structures having N-channels, and the transistors T12 and T13 are two bipolar transistors of the NPN type. The device has a differential input between IN and IN and a differential output between Q and Q. The connection IN is coupled to the gate electrodes of the transistors T1 and T7, while the connection IN is coupled to the gate electrodes of the transistors T4 and T9. The output Q is coupled between the transistor T8 and the emitter on the bipolar transistor T12 and the output Q is coupled between the transistor T10 and the emitter on the bipolar transistor T13. The gate electrodes of the transistors T3 and T6 are coupled to the feedback inputs FB and FB respectively, whereas the gate electrodes of the transistors T2 and T5 are coupled to the input CTL for the ramp control voltage.

The bipolar NPN transistors form current amplifying stages of low output impedence. The field effect transistors that include P-channels conduct at low input voltages, whereas the field effect transistors that include N-channels conduct at high input voltages. The transistors T1, T7, and T4, T9 therefore form an inverting stage whose cut-over or change-over for a negative voltage edge is controlled by a time link which is formed by the combination of stray capacitances and the base-emitter capacitance in the bipolar NPN transistor T12 and T13 respectively, together with the channel resistance in T2 and T5 respectively, which is controlled by the voltage applied via the input CTL. When the respective gate electrodes of the transistors T3 and T6 are placed on a low potential, the transistors will short-circuit respective parallel transistor T2 and T5, resulting in short-circuiting of the channel resistance which provides the time constant in the time link. The function of the circuit illustrated in Figure 6 thus corresponds to the function demonstrated by the time diagram in Figure 5.

As a result of the symmetrical construction of the delay element DDE having two inverting devices INV1 and INV2 in accordance with Figures 4 and 6 respectively, it is relatively easy to construct a delay line for, in principle, any desired delay in accordance with Figure 2. After each incremental delay of the digital signal it is ensured that the pulse width is maintained while, at the same time, obtaining a well-defined pulse form and hence achieving very low signal distortion with an even number of inverting devices. Because each DDE is constructed symmetrically, it is relatively easy to feedback from the respective outputs Q and Q on INV2 to the respective inputs FB and FB on INV1, and to feed the signals on the outputs Q and Q on INV1 in a delay element DDE back to the inputs FB and FB on INV2 in the preceding delay element DD1. In other words, a delay element DDE' is formed in this way with the inverting devices INV2 and INV1, and consequently this feedback to a preceding stage is obtained constantly in accordance with the invention. All inputs CTL on the inverting devices in all DDE which form the delay line are together coupled to a common control supply which determines the incremental delay in each DDE and therewith the total delay in the combined digital delay line.

The number of delay elements DDE in one such differential delay line is chosen so that the total delay that can be obtained will reach, for instance, one unit interval of the signal to be delayed and for instance with 10% for each DDE, even though it is theoretically possible to adjust up to almost 100% of the pulse length with a DDE. Thus, there is constructed with the aid of a number of DDEs a phase aligner whose delay of a digital input signal can be readily voltage controlled.

A bit synchronizer is constructed by using two phase aligners PHA1 and PHA2, shown in Figure 7, each of which includes a respective differential delay line in accordance with the invention. The two phase aligners are given slightly different phase adjustment ranges, wherein the first phase aligner PHA1 has a phase adjustment range which extends from a minimum value to a first maximum value having the magnitude of at least one unit interval, whereas the second phase aligner PHA2 has a phase adjustment range which extends from the minimum value plus preferably at least one-half of a unit interval to a second maximum value and in total corresponds at least to one unit interval. An example of the phase adjustment ranges of the two phase aligners PHA1 and PHA2 is shown in Figure 8. In order to minimize the requisite adjustment range of the phase aligners, an inverted clock signal has in this case been applied to the phase aligner PHA2. In this way, there is obtained in the working range of the phase aligner a shift of one-half bit interval. Both PHA1 and PHA2 are constructed so as to be able to operate slightly above an upper alarm level AHI1 and AHI2, and also slightly beneath a bottom alarm level ALO1 and ALO2 respectively, thereby providing a functional margin. According to Figure 8, the respective margins for PHA1 and PHA2 are +π and -π, whereas the working region of the illustrative embodiment is 2π.

A change-over which causes one phase aligner will be active or enabled while the other phase aligner is disabled or in a rest state is controlled by a function control referenced CONTR in Figure 7. This control function ensures that the active phase aligner is able to operate well within its phase control range. The function control operates to ensure that the first phase aligner is activated and the second phase aligner is in its rest state, wherein the second phase aligner in a rest state will take over phase alignment as soon as there is a danger of the first, active phase aligner moving outside its delay adjustment range as a result of following a varying phase relationship between the plesiochronous local clock and the bit data stream. The first phase aligner in a rest state will also take over phase alignment immediately the second active phase aligner is in danger of passing outside its delay adjustment range. This is achieved simply by the function control monitoring primarily a control voltage which is applied to the control input CTL of the differential delay line of the active phase aligner.

According to the embodiment illustrated in Figure 7, the digital signal D to be delayed is passed through both phase aligners PHA1 and PHA2, which in turn deliver respective signals D1 and D2. The function control CONTR decides which of the signals D1 and D2 shall be converted, on the basis of the signals INSYNC, ALO and AHI from the two phase aligners PHA. In other words, the function control determines which of the phase aligners PHA1 and PHA2 is the active phase aligner. Both phase aligners PHA1 and PHA2 also obtain a clock signal CL as its reference, wherein in the illustrated case PHA2 will receive this clock signal inverted, i.e. in principle displaced by one-half of a time interval, which results in the shift in working range illustrated in Figure 8. The too high alarm signals AHI and the too low alarm signals ALO flag, for instance, the upper and the lower limits of the phase adjustment range. Reference signals REFH1, REFN1, REFL1 and REFH2, REFN2, REFL2 are also supplied to respective phase aligners PHA1 and PHA2, so as to create the signals AHI, ALO, INSYNC applied to the function control so that its logic will be able to decide which of the phase aligners operates the most favourably, in a known manner.

The references REFH state the high limit of the phase adjustment range, the references REFN state a nominal centre region of the phase adjustment range, and the references REFL state the low limit of the phase adjustment range and are generated with the aid of adapted reference voltage generators which, in accordance with the invention, utilize the same type of phase aligners including differential delay lines which are copies of those used in the phase aligners PHA1 and PHA2 in the actual bit synchronizer.

The adaptive reference voltage generators thus use copies of the phase aligners to generate reference voltages which define the relevant usable delay range in the bit synchronizer. Each reference generator also includes two phase aligners where the control voltage of one phase aligner is forced so that the delay is the minimum delay that can be achieved during prevailing function conditions. The feedback loop of the other phase aligner is activated, although instead of phase aligning towards a clock signal, the delay is adjusted so that the delay line output data will be phase aligned with data arriving from that delay line which is forced to operate at minimum delay. The same data signal of fixed pattern is delivered to both delay lines, although the signal delivered to the delay line which is forced to minimum delay is first delayed in a series of bi-stable flip-flops and/or is stored intermediately. In the case of the first reference generator which generates the lower alarm level or threshold, a single intermediate storage which will delay the fixed data pattern by one-half of a clock period is appropriate. This means that the second phase alignment control voltage will be the voltage at which the delay is equal to one-half unit interval from the level at which the phase aligners cease to be adjustable in a downward sense. This voltage level is delivered from the reference voltage generator as the low delay alarm voltage. Bit synchronizers are able to use this level as the lower delay limit for the phase aligners for bit synchronization. One-half unit interval provides a sufficient phase drift margin for the active phase aligner while the newly activated phase aligner seeks its equilibrium state.

The upper alarm limit is generated in a second reference voltage generator which operates in a similar manner. The one difference is that the deviation in time domain between the infeed patterns to the two phase aligners of the reference generator is, for instance, one and one-half unit interval instead of one-half unit interval. The bit synchronizers will use this reference voltage to monitor their respective phase aligner so as not to operate at an excessively high delay level. As before mentioned, the delay lines are constructed so as to be able to operate up to delay levels which exceed the high alarm level, so as to provide room for a given overlap during the hand-over procedure, see also Figure 8. The adaptive voltage generators are also important because the usable delay operation range of the phase aligner will also depend, of course, on supply voltage, circuit characteristics and temperature in addition to the phase position of the incoming data signal.

Figure 9a illustrates schematically a state in which PHA1 is active and the signal D1 therefrom is the bit synchronizer output signal. The alarm level ALO1 or AHI1 is reached at a given point in time. The control CONTR steers PHA2 to the centre region of its working range, with the aid of REFN2. After a short period, PHA2 finds a stable state and therewith sets the signal INSYNC2 to "true" as an indication that PHA2 has now locked-in to the input signal with a correct delay. When the control CONTR receives the signal INSYNC2 indicating correct phase adjustment of the phase aligner, the control CONTR changes the output signal from D1 to D2. Figure 9b illustrates more precisely how this change is effected in relation to whether data has a lower or a higher frequency than the clock. The control CONTR informs receiving logic (not shown) of the type of drift that has occurred. The receiving logic uses this information to handle input data correctly during the change-over period. If data speed is greater than clock speed, the receiving logic will thus deal with data from both phase aligners during the change-over period. If data speed is slower than clock speed, it is necessary for the receiving logic to compensate, e.g., the occurrence of the same data bit 39 in mutually sequential periods during changeover. When a new state occurs, a corresponding operation can be effected against PHA1, so as to obtain the alarm level ALO2 or AHI2, wherein PHA1 is synchronized and signals with signal INSYNC1 that a change back to D1 can take place.

The bit synchronizers are able to handle data signals which are plesiochronous in relation to the own clock, because the delay control voltage of the phase adjuster is controlled so that the delay will be changed by a magnitude which equals the phase drift between clock and data. In this way, the output signal obtains a stable phase position in relation to the clock, i.e. it is synchronized. Since the phase aligner has a finite working range, a phase drift would be able to cause a malfunction by forcing the phase aligner out of its permitted working range. Accordingly, the phase aligner signals to the control logic with either the signal AHI or ALO that it is approaching the upper or the lower limit of its working range in good time before this danger becomes a reality. The control logic replies by activating the phase aligner that has been held inactive. An inactive phase aligner is forced to the centre region of its working range with the aid of the reference voltage REFN. As described in Figure 8, the alarm levels or thresholds AHI and ALO are selected so that when the active phase aligner operates in the vicinity of the alarm level, the delay loop of the inactive phase aligner will have an equilibrium state in the vicinity of the centre of said working range. When the active phase aligner passes an alarm level, the phase aligner that has been inactive is activated. The phase aligner then seeks the equilibrium state in the vicinity of the centre region of the working range, so as to achieve correct synchronization. When this phase aligner has reached the equilibrium state, its flag INSYNC to the control logic is set equal to "true", whereupon the control logic responds by switching active phase aligners.

Accordingly, it is possible to construct a bit synchronizer which is able to phase align an incoming date bit stream to the local isochronous time domain for simple interpretation and processing of the bit data stream in a positive manner and without signal distortion, by using digital delay lines which are constructed from delay elements which comprise paired inverting devices having a time delay for positive signal edges or alternatively for negative signal edges, said time delay being controllable by an applied voltage level.

  1. Differentielles Verzögerungselement (DDE) für eine Verzögerungsleitung in einem Phasenausrichter zum Aufrechterhalten der Impulsbreite von Information in einem Bitstrom mit hoher Datengeschwindigkeit, umfassend ein Paar von differentiellen invertierenden Einrichtungen (INV1, INV2), wobei jede derartige differentielle invertierende Einrichtung aus einer Vielzahl von Feldeffekttransistoren unter Verwendung von P-Kanal Transistoren (t1 - t6) und N-Kanal-Transistoren (t7 - t11) aufgebaut ist, wobei jede Einrichtung ein Paar von invertierenden Stufen umfaßt, wobei jede Stufe ein Paar von Eingangstransistoren (t4, t9; t1, t7) eines unterschiedlichen Kanaltyps aufweist, wobei jede Stufe eines der Eingangssignale von differentiellen Eingangsanschlüssen (IN, IN) empfängt, und umfassend zwei bipolare Ausgangstransistoren (t12 - t13) mit Emittern, die mit differentiellen Ausgangsanschlüssen (Q, Q) verbunden sind, wobei die Schaltungsanordnung der differentiellen invertierenden Einrichtungen mit einer Anzahl von identischen differentiellen invertierenden Einrichtung auf dem gleichen Substratchip oder Die integriert und untereinander verbunden sind, um durch eine Kaskadenanordnung von Paaren von invertierenden Einrichtungen (INV1, INV2), die eine Anzahl von differentiellen Verzögerungselementen (DDE) bilden, eine Verzögerungsleitung zu bilden, wobei die Verzögerungszeit jedes differentiellen Verzögerungselements durch eine analoge Spannung (CTL) gesteuert wird, die mit dem Gate von zwei Vorspann-Feldeffekttransistoren (t2, t5) in jeder der invertierenden Einrichtungen in einem Paar, das ein differentielles Verzögerungselement bildet, verbunden ist, ohne die Notwendigkeit von weiteren Komponenten in der Form von Widerständen oder Kondensatoren in dem integrierten differentiellen Verzögerungselement (DDE); wobei jeder der zwei bipolaren Ausgangstransistoren (t12 - t13) eine Basis aufweist, die mit einem Knoten zwischen einem der Eingangstransistoren (t7, t9) eines Kanaltyps und der Reihenanordnung eines anderen der Eingangstransistoren (t1, t4) und einem der Vorspann-Feldeffekttransistoren (t2, t3) des anderen Kanaltyps in einer der invertierenden Stufen verbunden ist, um so eine stromverstärkende Ausgangsstufe mit einer niedrigen Impedanz zu bilden, und wobei jede differentielle invertierende Einrichtung (INV1, INV2) ferner differentielle positive Rückkopplungseingangsanschlüsse (FB, FB) aufweist, die mit differentiellen Ausgangsanschlüssen (Q, Q) der folgenden differentiellen invertierenden Einrichtung verbunden sind, um zwei weitere Transistoren (t3, t4) des anderen Kanaltyps der differentiellen invertierenden Einrichtung zu steuern, um jeweils einen der Vorspann-Feldeffekttransistoren (t3, t6) kurzzuschließen.
  2. Differentielles Verzögerungselement nach Anspruch 1,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß in einem derartigen Verzögerungselement (DDE), das eine erste (INV1) und eine zweite (INV2) differentielle invertierende Einrichtung umfaßt, die Rückkopplungs-Eingangsanschlüsse (FB, FB) der ersten differentiellen invertierenden Einrichtung (INV2) mit den differentiellen Ausgangsanschlüssen (Q, Q) der zweiten invertierenden Einrichtung (INV2) für Rückkopplungsrouten von den differentiellen Ausgängen verbunden sind, um einen stabilen Ausgangspegel von der vorangehenden Stufe am Ende der Verzögerungsperiode einer vorangehenden Stufe sicherzustellen, wobei die Rückkopplungsroute auch zum Minimieren einer internen Bitinterferenz der nichtverzögerten Flanke dient.
  3. Differentielles Verzögerungselement nach Anspruch 2,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß jede invertierende Einrichtung (INV1, INV2) in dem Paar, das das differentielle Verzögerungselement bildet, auch als eine Pegelwiederherstellungsstufe arbeitet, die eine beeinflußte und verzögerte Flanke auf einem richtigen Logikpegel wiederherstellt.
  4. Differentielles Verzögerungselement nach Anspruch 2,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß die symmetrische Konstruktion von zwei in Kaskade gekoppelten invertierenden Einrichtungen (INV1, INV2), die jeweils identisch auf ihre jeweilige zu verzögernde Impulsflanke arbeitet, garantiert, daß die Länge des verzögerten Impulses gleich zur Länge des ursprünglichen Impulses sein wird.
  5. Differentielles Verzögerungselement nach Anspruch 2,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß die Verzögerung in dem Verzögerungselement (DDE) erreicht wird durch Steuern der Flankengeschwindigkeit einer zu verzögernden Flanke mit Hilfe einer Rampenspannung durch die zwei Vorspann-Transistoren (t3, t6), durch Erzeugen einer einstellbaren Spannung als der Steuerspannung, die die Steigung der Rampenspannung bestimmt, die der zu verzögernden Flanke entspricht und dadurch, daß die Rückkopplungsrouten schnell die Flankenrampenspannung auf einen vollen Logikpegel in der ersten invertierenden Einrichtung ändern, sobald eine gegebene Schwellspannung erreicht wird; wobei die zweite invertierenden Einrichtung des Paars sich schnell ändert, während eine Rampe für die andere Flanke noch auf den bestimmten Schwellwert geschlossen bleibt.
  6. Phasenausrichter (PHA1, PHA2), der differentielle Verzögerungselemente nach irgendeinem der vorangehenden Ansprüche zum Verzögern eines digitalen Bitdatenstroms zur Interpretation des digitalen Bitdatenstroms in einem Empfänger in einem Kommunikationssystem mit einer hohen Taktrate, dadurch gekennzeichnet, daß der Phasenausrichter mit einer rückkopplungsgesteuerten Schleife versehen ist und lediglich der Bitdatenstrom an den Empfänger ohne eine getrennte Übertragung eines Referenztaktsignals übertragen wird, wobei der Bitdatenstrom an den Phasenausrichter als ein differentielles Signal geliefert wird und die differentiellen Verzögerungselemente zusammen eine spannungsgesteuerte digitale Verzögerungsleitung bilden und der Phasenausrichter dann den Bitdatenstrom so verzögert, daß das Datensignal in denjenigen Momenten gültig ist, wenn es von einem isochronen Taktsignal gestrobed wird, das auch an die Rückkopplungsschleife zum Steuern der Phasenausrichter-Verzögerungsperiode geliefert wird, wobei ein Strobing oder eine Interpretation des Bitdatenstroms für den Phasenausrichter in einer Empfängerzeitdomäne ausgeführt wird.
  1. A differential delay element (DDE) for a delay line in a phase aligner for maintaining the pulse width of information in a high data speed bit stream, comprising a pair of differential inverting devices (INV1, INV2), each such a differential inverting device being built up from a plurality of field effect transistors using P-channel transistors (t1 - t6) and N-channel transistors (t7 - t11), each device comprising a pair of inverting stages, each stage comprising a pair of input transistors (t4, t9; t1, t7) of a different channel type, each stage receiving one of input signals from differential input terminals (IN,IN), and comprising two bipolar output transistors (t12 - t13) having emitters connected to differential output terminals (Q,Q), the circuitry of the differential inverting devices being integrated and mutually interconnected with a number of identical differential inverting devices on the same substrate chip or die for forming a delay line by cascading pairs of inverting devices (INV1, INV2) forming a number of differential delay elements (DDE), the delay time of each differential delay element being controlled by an analog voltage (CTL) connected to the gate of two biassing field-effect transistors (t2, t5) in each of the inverting devices in a pair forming a differential delay element without the need of further components in the form of resistors or capacitors in the integrated differential delay element (DDE); each of said two bipolar output transistors (t12 - t13) having a base connected to a node between one of the input transistors (t7, t9) of one channel type and the series arrangement of another of the input transistors (t1, t4) and one of the biassing field-effect transistors (t2, t3), of the other channel type in one of the inverting stages, so as to form a current amplifying output stage of low impedance, and each of the differential inverting device (INV1, INV2) further presenting differential positive feedback input terminals (FB,FB) connected to differential output terminals (Q,Q) of the following differential inverting device for controlling two further transistors (t3, t6) of the other channel type in the differential inverting device, for respectively short-circuiting one of the biassing field-effect transistors (t3, t6).
  2. The differential delay element according to claim 1,

    characterized in that in such a differential delay element (DDE) comprising a first (INV1) and a second (INV2) differential inverting device the feedback input terminal (FB,FB) of the first differential inverting device (INV1) are connected to the differential output terminals (Q,Q) of the second inverting device (INV2) for feedback routes from the differential outputs to ensure a stable output level from the preceding stage at the end of the delay period of a preceding stage, said feedback route also functioning to minimize internal bit interference of the non-delayed edge.
  3. The differential delay element according to claim 2,

    characterized in that each said inverting device (INV1, INV2) in the pair forming said differential delay element also operates as a level restoring stage which restores an influenced and delayed edge to a correct logic level.
  4. The differential delay element according to claim 2,

    characterized in that the symmetrical construction of two cascade-coupled inverting devices (INV1, INV2), each operating identically on its respective pulse edge to be delayed, guarantees that the length of the delayed pulse will be equal to the length of the original pulse.
  5. The differential delay element according to claim 2,

    characterized in that the delay in said delaying element (DDE) is achieved by steering the edge speed of an edge to be delayed with the aid of a ramp voltage through the two biassing transistors (t3, t6) by producing an adjustable voltage as the control voltage determining the slope of the ramp voltage that corresponds to the edge to be delayed and the feedback routes quickly changing the edge ramp voltage to a full logic level in the first inverting device as soon as a determined threshold voltage is reached; said second inverting device of said pair quickly changing while a ramp voltage for the other edge still remains close to the determined threshold value.
  6. A phase aligner (PHA1, PHA2) utilizing differential delay elements according to any of the preceding claims for delaying a digital bit data stream for interpretation of the digital bit data stream in a receiver in a communication system having a high clock rate, characterized in that the phase aligner is provided with a feedback controlled loop and solely the bit data stream will be transmitted to the receiver without separate transmission of a reference clock signal, whereby the bit data stream is delivered to the phase aligner as a differential signal and the differential delay elements together form a voltage controlled digital delay line and the phase aligner then delays the bit data stream such that the data signal is valid at those moments when it is strobed by an isochronous clock signal, which is also delivered to the feedback loop for controlling the phase aligner delay period, whereby strobing or interpretation of the bit data stream from the phase aligner is carried out in a receiver time domain.
  1. Elément à retard différentiel (DDE) pour une ligne à retard dans un aligneur de phase destiné à conserver la largeur d'impulsion d'information dans un train binaire à haut débit de données, comprenant une paire de dispositifs inverseurs différentiels (INV1, INV2), chacun de ces dispositifs inverseurs différentiels étant constitué d'une pluralité de transistors à effet de champ utilisant des transistors à canal P (t1-t6) et des transistors à canal N (t7-t11), chaque dispositif comprenant une paire d'étages inverseurs, chaque étage comprenant une paire de transistors d'entrée (t4, t9 ; t1, t7) d'un type de canal différent, chaque étage recevant l'un des signaux d'entrée de bornes d'entrée différentielles (IN, IN), et comprenant deux transistors de sortie bipolaires (t12-t13) ayant des émetteurs connectés à des bornes de sortie différentielles (Q, Q ), les circuits des dispositifs inverseurs différentiels étant intégrés et mutuellement interconnectés avec un certain nombre de dispositifs inverseurs différentiels identiques sur la même puce ou le même microcircuit formant substrat pour former une ligne à retard en connectant en cascade des paires de dispositifs inverseurs (INV1, INV2) formant un certain nombre d'éléments à retard différentiels (DDE), le temps de retard de chaque élément à retard différentiel étant commandé par une tension analogique (CTL) connectée à la grille de deux transistors à effet de champ de polarisation (t2, t5) dans chacun des dispositifs inverseurs d'une paire formant un élément à retard différentiel sans nécessiter d'autres composants sous la forme de résistances ou de condensateurs dans l'élément à retard différentiel intégré (DDE) ; chacun desdits deux transistors de sortie bipolaires (t12-t13) ayant une base connectée à un noeud entre l'un des transistors d'entrée (t7, t9) d'un type de canal et la connexion en série d'un autre des transistors d'entrée (t1, t4) et l'un des transistors à effet de champ de polarisation (t2, t5) de l'autre type de canal dans l'un des étages inverseurs, afin de former également un étage de sortie amplificateur de courant de faible impédance, et chacun des dispositifs inverseurs différentiels (INV1, INV2) présentant en outre des bornes d'entrée de contre-réaction positives différentielles (FB, FB) connectées à des bornes de sortie différentielles (Q, Q) du dispositif inverseur différentiel suivant pour commander deux autres transistors (t3, t6) de l'autre type de canal dans le dispositif inverseur différentiel, pour court-circuiter respectivement l'un des transistors à effet de champ de polarisation (t3, t6).
  2. Elément à retard différentiel selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que dans cet élément à retard différentiel (DDE) comprenant des premier (INV1) et second (INV2) dispositifs inverseurs différentiels, les bornes d'entrée de contre-réaction (FB, FB) du premier dispositif inverseur différentiel (INV1) sont connectées aux bornes de sortie différentielles (Q, Q) du second dispositif inverseur (INV2) pour former des voies de contre-réaction provenant des sorties différentielles pour assurer un niveau de sortie stable de l'étage précédent à la fin de la période de retard d'un étage précédent, ladite voie de contre-réaction ayant également pour fonction de minimiser les interférences internes entre bits du front non retardé.
  3. Elément à retard différentiel selon la revendication 2, caractérisé en ce que chacun desdits dispositifs inverseurs (INV1, INV2) de la paire formant ledit élément à retard différentiel fonctionne également en tant qu'étage de régénération qui régénère un front perturbé et retardé à un niveau logique correct.
  4. Elément à retard différentiel selon la revendication 2, caractérisé en ce que la réalisation symétrique de deux dispositifs inverseurs couplés en cascade (INV1, INV2), fonctionnant chacun de façon identique sur son front d'impulsion respectif devant être retardé, garantit que la longueur de l'impulsion retardée sera égale à la longueur de l'impulsion originale.
  5. Elément à retard différentiel selon la revendication 2, caractérisé en ce que le retard se produisant dans ledit élément à retard (DDE) est obtenu en fixant la vitesse de variation d'un front devant être retardé avec l'aide d'une tension de rampe par l'intermédiaire des deux transistors de polarisation (t3, t6), en produisant une tension réglable en tant que tension de commande déterminant la pente de la tension de rampe qui correspond au front devant être retardé et les voies de contre-réaction faisant varier rapidement la tension de rampe des fronts à un niveau logique maximum dans le premier dispositif inverseur dès qu'une tension de seuil déterminée a été atteinte ; ledit second dispositif inverseur de ladite paire variant rapidement pendant qu'une tension de rampe destinée à l'autre front reste proche de la valeur de seuil déterminée.
  6. Aligneur de phase (PHA1, PHA2) utilisant des éléments à retard différentiels selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, pour retarder un train de données binaires numériques en vue de l'interprétation du train de données binaires numériques dans un récepteur d'un système de transmission ayant une fréquence d'horloge élevée, caractérisé en ce que l'aligneur de phase est muni d'une boucle commandée par contre-réaction et en ce que l'on transmet uniquement le train de données binaires au récepteur sans transmission séparée d'un signal d'horloge de référence, d'où il résulte que le train de données binaires est délivré à l'aligneur de phase en tant que signal différentiel et que les éléments à retard différentiels forment ensemble une ligne à retard numérique commandée en tension et que l'aligneur de phase retarde ensuite le train de données binaires de telle façon que le signal de données soit valide aux moments où il est transféré par un signal d'horloge isochrone qui est également délivré à la boucle de contre-réaction pour commander la période de retard de l'aligneur de phase, de telle sorte que le transfert ou l'interprétation du train de données binaires provenant de l'aligneur de phase soit effectué dans le domaine temporel du récepteur.

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